Category Archives: 2 star books

Ten Thousand Skies Above You

Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird, #2)

Rating: 2 Stars

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Ever since she used the Firebird, her parents’ invention, to cross into alternate dimensions, Marguerite has caught the attention of enemies who will do anything to force her into helping them dominate the multiverse—even hurting the people she loves. She resists until her boyfriend, Paul, is attacked and his consciousness scattered across multiple dimensions.

Marguerite has no choice but to search for each splinter of Paul’s soul. The hunt sends her racing through a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each world brings Marguerite one step closer to rescuing Paul. But with each trial she faces, she begins to question the destiny she thought they shared.

For the first half of this novel, I was falling somewhere between three and four stars, but then the last half just killed whatever hope I’d carved out for this series.

I couldn’t even deal with Marguerite anymore. She is trying to compress the wonders of the universes, of different dimensions and the people in them into nice, little stereotypical boxes. Again and again we get her going on and on about how every Paul in every universe is her true love and they’re soulmates and all the same underneath it all.

I was groaning out loud at this. She could not seem to grasp the idea that every Paul in each universe was raised a different way, in a different environment, with different people surrounding him. Obviously he’s not going to be the same Paul.

But in every dimension, Marguerite has this ridiculous hope that that Paul is going to be the same as her Paul, and he would never, ever hurt her, despite having been raised in – oh, I don’t know – a war torn environment or a Russian gang. Naw, he’s still the same guy.

If one Paul loves her, that means all the Pauls in all the dimensions must love her, right???

Of course, this would go both ways, if it was true. (Spoiler: It’s not!)

Because poor Theo has another version of himself from a different dimension who betrayed Marguerite in the last book, so that must mean her version of Theo is also bad. Even though her Theo is obviously not a bad guy.

Freaking Marguerite just cannot get over this. I swear, a third of this book is dedicated to her being all angst-y about this, wondering about the soul, whether one version of a person is reflected in all versions.

To this I say: WHO FREAKING CARES!?

Each version might have the same soul, but they were all born in different lives and have made different choices. Obviously they will be different. You adapt to your environment and attempt to make the best decisions you can. Sometimes you get crap choices and have to settle for a crap decision.

And it was about time they all started to think about how the whole jumping to different universes and taking over the version of themselves in that dimension was kinda a bad idea! I mean, my gosh, the whole taking over someone’s life – even if they look like you and technically have the same soul – and making choices for them is kinda a bad idea, no?

Choices have consequences, and making those choices and then leaving that version of themselves to deal with them is kinda a jerk move, yeah?

I don’t even get how building these freaking Firebirds was a good idea in the first place. I’m a science major, so I know all about being curious and wanting to know things, experiment with things, but there is not one good thing I could see coming from building a necklace that could take a person to different versions of themselves that would in return outweigh all the bad that would undoubtedly come from it.

Would you like a list of all the Big Bad Things That Would Undoubtedly Happen? Some of them may include: wars, bigger and badder weapons, technology we should not have yet, screwing with another universe and likely effing them over in terms of their evolution, etc, etc, . . .

Like, my gosh???

The romance needs to die a quick and painful death. If I have to read one more time about Marguerite and Paul’s undying love for each other, how they’ll find each other in any universe ’cause they’re “fated for each other,” I’m gonna loose it.

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Dumplin’

Dumplin'

Rating: 2 Stars

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart. 

I had expectations for this book. Good, decent expectations. Expectations that included Dumplin’ being this strong-willed heavyset girl who, yes, has self-doubts and insecurities like the rest of us, but who ultimately scoffs at the size 0 models from Victoria’s Secret and this expectation that girls shouldn’t – and that it is unattractive to – have meat in their thighs and who can’t shop at those stores that only sell sizes 6 and down.

“I guess sometimes the perfection we perceive in others is made up of a whole bunch of tiny imperfections, because some days the damn dress just won’t zip.”  

But that’s not really what I got here.

Dumplin’ shouldn’t have to prove a point to her mother and to herself that she is beautiful just the way she is and that she can still feel good about herself despite her size. And Dumplin’ makes a point to repeat many times that she is completely happy with how she is and what her life is like, if not prone to moments and times of self-pity and doubt, yet she signs up for the local beauty pageant just to prove all this.

Firstly, I don’t really understand that line of thinking. It doesn’t make sense to me that in an effort to make herself confident again about her weight Dumplin’ signs up for a beauty pageant. How is this going to make her confident again? Also, I kind of hated this stigmatism that all the girls who do beauty pageants are shallow, stupid, catty girls who are too skinny. That’s quite the double standard.

Those girls who sign up for those beauty pageants have revolved their world around that one thing. Some girls have a sport, some have an art, and for some girls, that one thing is a beauty pageant.

Now, I do understand Dumplin’s sentiment. I understand that the big stigmatism for girls who enter beauty pageant is that they have to look a certain way, be a certain weight, have certain ideas, and behave a certain way. I understand that Dumplin’ thinks that if she can show to her small town that a girl who isn’t any of those stigmatisms can still enter a beauty pageant and who maybe still won’t win, but who still has every right to be on up that stage, she’ll feel better about herself and might even being doing a good thing. I get that and admire that.

But there are girls who really train for this competition. Who have been looking forward to this one thing for a good chunk of their life. And Dumplin’ just doesn’t get that or respect that. I felt that in some ways, this book was a double standard.

“I’ve wasted a lot of time in my life. I’ve thought too much about what people will say or what they’re gonna think. And sometimes it’s over silly things like going to the grocery store or going to the post office. But there have been times when I really stopped myself from doing something special. All because I was scared someone might look at me and decide I wasn’t good enough. But you don’t have to bother with that nonsense. I wasted all that time so you don’t have to.”  

Now obviously I do think that it’s ridiculous that girls are expected to loose weight right before the pageant. I think it’s horrible that we’re considered “fat” if there’s some giggle in your thighs and maybe we even have a little bit of a muffin top.

But Dumplin’ wasn’t what I expected her to be.

There are good lessons here and a lot of real problems about how women are perceived and what is expected from them in terms of how they look, but I just think it could have been presented better.

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Magonia

Magonia

Rating: 2 Stars

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

This is the kind of book where I feel a little guilty for not loving it.

I wanted to love it – I really, really did. I tried. I read the first few chapters and was sure I was going to love it and it was going to be a four or five star book for me and I was going to add it to my favorite-2015 shelf, but . . . it just didn’t happen. I . . . I tried. I really did.

I roared through the first 1/3 or so, but then . . . but then I got about halfway, and I had to drudge up some serious mental willpower for that, and then I just dropped the book and didn’t pick it up for a while. I kept looking at it, sitting there so nicely and prettily on my tan leather chair that I use only for reading, thinking about how gosh-darn pretty that cover was . . . and still I didn’t touch it. I dreaded having to finish it.

So you’re probably like, “Well, Hannah, why didn’t you just DNF it?” And I’ll tell you, random voices speaking into my head, that it’s because the writing was. So. Pretty. I loved it. The heroine and nerdy (THANK YOU GOD) love interest kind of reminded me of Hazel Grace and Gus a few times, just because of her whole, you know, inability to breath properly and the fact that they’re both disgusting know-it-alls, but I kind of love that, because I’ve also been accused of being a disgusting know-it-all.

I loved that Aza wasn’t a flightless bimbo who drooled over the other, more muscular (somewhat, kinda) love interest. In fact, there are times when they’re about to have a nice little intimate moment, maybe kiss, maybe canoodle . . . and then Aza laughs. Because she’s just so over it, and this is so cliché she wants to barf, but not really, because that’d be gross. But, seriously, dude, back up, ’cause you may be a finer specimen of the opposite sex, but, boy, I got a little genius, slightly insane, slightly schizophrenic boy back home that I’ve been BBF’s with forever, and, quite frankly, you are not intellectually stimulating. So. There you have it.

Yeah.

And I don’t really understand why I didn’t like this so much – actually, yes, I do. It’s because about halfway through, I got bored. Which is frustrating, because this is the genre that I love the most. Crazy ships in the sky, bird people and killer sharks in the clouds. Yes, please, with a side of sexual frustration. Especially with a nerdy, genius boy who has OCD and enjoys repeating the infinite numbers of pi. Yes. That’s my stuff.

It had all the factors I love, but there were parts when Aza was just a little too accepting of the things she didn’t understand and making blood oaths with her insane mother, that I just wanted to facepalm. Seriously? This is the girl who had a unsated curiosity for everything she didn’t understand? The girl who asked too many questions and would argue for the sake of arguing? Where’d she go?

I wanted Aza to tell her mother to go to hell. I wanted her to listen to all the screaming voices in her head telling her things were not as they appear. I wanted her to not buy into the whole, Oh, we’re the starving, destitute people in the sky who just want to steal some seeds to grow our own food from the poisonous humans bellow who owe us, even though they don’t know we exist. We’re the victims here, therefore everything we do is justified.

Like, seriously?

Firstly, I literally had to roll my eyes when I realized this was ANOTHER one of those, Oh, look at how humans are killing the environment and poisoning the air and STARVING THE BIRD-PEOPLE IN THE SKY AND THEREFORE ARE DEVILS. ‘CAUSE OBVIOUSLY. GEEZ.

Because this means they should steal the humans’ answer to these problems right under their noses because they’re the ones who destroyed everything in the first place. Yeah, totally okay. Don’t question it, Aza. Totally makes sense as your mother is making other pirates walk the plank. No, no, shhh. Go back to bed, but before you do, here, give me your hand so I can cut it and make you swear a blood oath that you’ll do this for us, even though you’ve only known us for four weeks. Shhh . . . don’t question it.

MAKES TOTAL SENSE. ‘CAUSE OBVI.

I kept being reminded of Castle in the Sky, which should have made me love this. If the overall theme was still there, just minus a good chunk of the middle of the book, this would be rated much higher. Really, I mostly enjoyed Jason’s parts. He’s a hoot to read.

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Red Queen

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Synopsis via Goodreads:

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

For those of you like me who were unfortunate enough to read The Selection, this book is trigger central for the horrors that were The Selection.

Let’s see . . . a gathering of pretty, bratty well-to-do girls for the crowned prince’s hand in marriage, all competing against each other, camera everywhere – though Lord knows even this isn’t enough to deter our (read: stupid) protagonist from doing stupid things that will be caught on camera, even when she thinks she being “sneaky” and won’t get caught – and the best friend that may have more than just “friendly” feelings for the oh-so special protagonist?

Oh, where oh where have I heard this before . . .

“Anyone can betray anyone.”

I feel like this book betrayed me. I was expecting so much better.

Honestly, the only reason I rated this as high as I did was because for some inexplicable reason, I raced through this, my heart pounding (on for than one occasion because I was actually nervous for the protagonist and her stupid, stupid decisions), and on some scale this was an entertaining read. It kept me up past my bedtime, I will admit.

The reason for this, though, was because of the few redeeming qualities: tension, suspense, stupid decisions that I was just waiting for the fallout for, suspense, a decently done love triangle, not A-typical characters (excluding Mare), and, oh, did I mention . . . SUSPENSE?

I just can’t deal with a stupid heroine. For the sake of my mental health I . . . just can’t. And Mare was STUPID, man.

Off the bat, I knew what this story was going to be after the first few chapters. And can I just get this out there and say that this theme is soooo done and dead. Please, authors, stop writing The Hunger Games knockoffs. The overdone theme of a split society of poverty and the elite, where we have the dirt poor heroine who somehow rises up and is SPECIAL (*shudder*) and somehow, in-between getting her friends and family killed and stupid decisions, saves the world and turns it around where the devil rich are defeated and the kind, poor are risen up.

Please.

Stop this crap. I am beyond sick of this theme. The Hunger Games, Matched, The Selection . . . the list could go on and on.

Besides that, though, I had some real beef with the females portrayed here. Like so many other YA books, why are all the women besides the heroine catty, b-words? Every. Freakin’. Time.

These women are simply there to make the heroine look that much better. To put a little spotlight on her to say that she could do no wrong.

The ending, though . . . The ending made me both enraged and happy. Happy, because I never would have expected it. Enraged, because I feel that it was only there to push Mare into another man’s arms. I was pissed, because, frankly, I only liked one of the love interests in the book from the very beginning, and also from the very beginning, I could tell that he didn’t stand a chance. How did I know? Because the heroine always ends up with the guy she meets first. There are almost never any exceptions.

There were some times when I felt Mare was a decent heroine. Key word: some.

“I’m a Red girl in a sea of Silvers and I can’t afford to feel sorry for anyone, least of all the son of a snake.”  

The times where I realized she honestly wasn’t thinking so much about the love interests. Where I felt she was more concerned with the fate of her people than which prince she’d end up with.

But then . . . But then she had to go and kiss one of them.

MOTHEROFGOODNESSME

What’s worse is that Mare even says no. Like, literally, she says the word “No.” Like, hey, dude, no don’t kiss me, we have better things to do and worry about. But she says it half-heartedly, and what does the idiot prince do?

Kisses her anyway.

Honestly, this was where that prince lost all hope with me. Because even if we’re inside Mare’s mind and we know she actually did want the prince to kiss her, if a girl says “No” when a guy’s about to kiss her, under no circumstances should said guy go ahead and kiss her.

Mare does not listen to any good advice. She makes stupid, selfish decisions that not only endanger her, but her family and other people how have risked things for her. She does not think things through.

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Lola and the Boy Next Door

Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss, #2)

Rating: 2 Stars

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Le sigh.

So. One of these, huh?

I know I wrote a review for Anna and the French Kiss, and it wasn’t exactly a positive review, but this. This was horrid.

This was so bad, and the only good parts were when Anna and St. Clair showed up. I now want to go back and re-read Anna and the French Kiss to remember what it was that I didn’t like so much about it. Because I remember that I thought it was cute, but my biggest issue was that it felt like St. Clair was a cheater (not a cheater on Anna, obviously, but on his girlfriend when he meets Anna), and I have very little pity for cheaters.

And – guess what? – here it wasn’t the guy, Cricket (I know, I know. We’ll get to that name later), who was the cheater, but the girl, Lola. Because she’d already dating someone. Someone who she thinks is the one (le barf).

Firstly, I have an issue with any book that seriously talks about the one. Not because I’m anti-romantic or anything, but just because when it’s a sixteen/seventeen-year-old girl talking about the one, who also so happens to be her first boyfriend ever and who she lost her virginity to, it just irks me to no end.

I get it. I’m a girl who’s just getting out of her teenage years, and I get it. Not because I ever thought I was dating the one or anything (in fact, I never dated in high school), but because I understand teenage girl hormones and the absolute crap it does to your brain. I get it. I do.

However, that’s not an excuse to be this stupid.

Now, Lola and Cricket never kiss or anything while she’s dating her current boyfriend, Max. But they flirt and they make doe eyes at each other, and they think about each other and they want each other, and frankly, it pisses me off. But not because they feel this way for each other. That’s whatever. My issue is that Lola is not truthful about her feelings. Does it suck that she’s crushing on the guy who hurt her when they were pre-teens? Yeah, it does. But that’s life. And she should have been talking about it to Max. She should have been frank with him from the beginning, but instead she lies to herself and everyone else.

That’s not be saying that Lola should dump Max the second her teenage hormones start going haywire for Cricket. That’s normal. Teenagers could be positive they’re in love with one boy one week, and the next be in love with another. But when it got to the point where she waited for Cricket, where she overanalyzed everything he did or said, well, it’s time to call it quits with the boyfriend.

To be clear, Cricket (oh my gosh, how is that seriously his name?) is frank with Lola. He likes her. Yes, he was a jerk when they were pre-teens and he hurt her, but this freakin’ girl. She has obsessed over this boy and how he hurt her for years. Firstly, that’s messed up and I wish I could recommend a good therapist for the girl.

Yes, it sucked that he hurt you, Lola. But guess what? You both were, what, fifteen when this happened? For hell’s bells sack, get over it. Go through a pack of Thin Mints and cry while watching Titanic or The Notebook and be done with it. Move on. People are stupid when they’re young, and crap happens.

But now Cricket comes back, and he’s sorry he was a jerk, but he likes her, he’s always liked her. And Lola had always liked him. She never got over him. But she still has been dating Max, who she lost her virginity to. So. He’s the one.

Firstly, let’s get one thing straight: Max is a little piece of *bleep* and a *bleep*

It’s not that young, naïve little girls think their first boyfriend is the one that bothers me on principle (well . . .). It’s that so many times the guy is an absolute jerk.

Sure, Max is nice to Lola’s family. But to her friends? He’s awful. And he may be polite to her family, but he’s twenty-two when Lola is seventeen and they met when she was sixteen, and thinks he’s hot s***. Firstly, that’s not legal. And it’s not legal for a reason, Lola. Because girls like you make poor, poor decisions. Starting with the fact she lied about her age when they first met.

My gosh.

Lola makes mistake after mistake, and almost always the protagonist will make a crap decision here and there. That’s normal. That’s life, really. But they usually learn from those poor mistakes. They figure out not to be a spoiled brat.

Yeah, that didn’t happen here until the last few pages. And even then, it was scarce.

Cricket, oddly enough, was the best part of the book (sans his name, of course). He was such a nice guy, and he could do the one thing Lola couldn’t – own up to his shortcomings and mistakes. He apologizes. Unlike Lola, who’s your A-typical teenage drama queen.

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Trial by Fire

Trial by Fire (Worldwalker, #1)

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Synopsis via Goodreads:

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily’s other self in this alternate universe.

What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected.

This started off promising, but ever so slowly began to go downhill. At the beginning, I was seriously thinking this was going to be a 4.5 star book, but then it became 4 stars and then a dramatic crash landing about 2/3 into the book where it became – and stayed – a 2.5 star for me.

There are some fundamental functions of a YA book that I live by and grade by, and some of those include a heroine that is a Mary Sue, stereotypical teenage girl that I want nothing more than to plunder into next week, a love interest that has absolutely nothing going for him besides the fact that we are told he is undeniably hhhooooootttttt, and side characters that are simply there to be background noise and take up valuable page space – and, yes, this can and typically does include the poor, poor third wheel of the love triangle who we all know doesn’t stand a chance in hell of getting the girl.

Poor, pathetic third wheel of a love triangle. So much pity.

Because we all know so many YA females have this in common.

Because they never even stood a chance.

This is a perfect example on why people think good guys never win. It’s because YA females are STUPID seven time out of ten.

Lily Proctor was okay at the beginning. Yes, she does immediately give us a play-by-play of what she looks like (crazy curly red hair, freckles, too-thin body, fragile health – you get the picture) and this alone usually makes me want to eat my own tongue and pluck out my eyeballs, but Lily got away with it simply because she does not pull the stunt of “oh, woe is me! I’m soooo ugly!” but in reality looks like a freakin’ supermodel.

But then she (somewhat) made up by it by saying that while there are parts of her that she doesn’t really like, she admits she has a pretty face. She doesn’t say this egotistically, but matter-of-fact. She likes her face and I give her props for it. Hell, we’re females for Pete’s sack – of course there are going to be parts of our bodies we like and dislike. Her pointing these things out is not something I love or really care for, but it does not make me want to eat my tongue in frustration either.

That’s always something.

Lily is in love with her best friend, Tristan. In par to YA standards, Lily has been in love with him forever, but he’s the typical player in Salem who treats girls like dirt and hardly noticed Lily is even female. Until . . . he does.

So they kiss. And yay for Lily! She’s got the guy she’s been drooling over since forever, right? He’s not going to treat her like dirt like he does all those other girls, right? She’s different (oh, those magical little words). She’s his BFF.

And he does treat her different. At first. But then she catches him in a . . . (*coughcough*) particular . . . position with a girl that HE DOES NOT EVEN LIKE, and – look at that – Lily has just had a nice little dose of reality whack her upside the head.

Because Tristan is – and always has been – a player who has no qualms about seriously hurting any girl. Even if said girl is his BFF.

And this is where I give the girl props – she kicks Tristan to the curb. She doesn’t need the guy in her life. She’s loved him for so long and she finally sees him for what he is.

So, up to here, this was a pretty darn good read. But then I remembered why Josephine Angelini isn’t one of my . . . errr . . . more liked authors. It’s the same reason I downright hated her Starcrossed series.

Lily may be strong some instances, but completely weak in others. And usually when she’s weak, it has to do with that hhhooooottttt guy. You know, the one with absolutely no character besides his ammmaaaazzzziiinnnggg body.

Wait. You mean to tell me his abs don’t count for characterization? WHAT?! But . . . but . . . all those YA books . . . all those YA guys . . .

Yep. It’s a hard truth, I know.

What also annoys me to no end is the same thing that annoyed me with Helen: the female leads always come across as completely idiotic, rash, and always rushes to make assumptions about others without much (if anything) to back it up.

Lily is basically just grinning stupidly during the whole novel and following along blindly with whatever the closest person around her tells her to do, whatever they tell her is the truth of this world. Because God  forbid the girl makes decisions on her own. And when she does, they’re just plainly stupid.

Ms. Angelini should really just stay far, far away from fighting scenes as well. There’s one at the end of the novel that I literally had to just shut my eyes during and pray that it wouldn’t take up too many pages. Spoiler alert: It did.

And that’s what really killed the ending of this book for me: the ending. This isn’t even the real end since this is a series, and I’m hoping so much that the next installment will actually explain things. This whole world-jumping thing was just ridiculous. Not to mention confusing.

And then there’s the love interest – Rowan.

*le sigh*

You know what? I’m not even going to try to talk about him because there is literally nothing I can say about him. He is the stereotypical guy you can read almost anywhere in YA fiction. No real character depth. Sure, there are the pitiful attempts with his tragic past and lost love with Lillian, but all that is just background noise. Just like he is! (Background noise, that is.)

And there are these ridiculous attempts to make me feeeeellll for Lily and just how strong she is (so much sarcasm here, people).

She’s the girl who wears those (read: annoying) T-shirts that say things like “Save the whales!” and all the horrid anti-nuclear power puns you can think of. And while I have no problem with people standing up for what they believe in, Lily just makes the biggest deal ever about how she FEELS SO DARN STRONGLY FOR ALL THESE THINGS AND, WHY, LOOK AT THAT, SHE CAN’T JOIN ANY OF THE GROUPS SHE WANTS TO BECASUE OF HER POOR, POOR HEALTH. Meat? Can’t eat it. SAVE THE ANIMALS! Glutton free everything! Demon span, all of you who dare to eat meat!!!

Sweetheart, you are in a magical world where it is a miracle of God that you have not starved yet. And not only that, people around you ARE starving, and you think you get to be picky (and let’s be honest, a bit of a b-word) about what’s handed to you?

Cry me a river, will you dearest?

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Hopeless

Hopeless (Hopeless, #1)

Rating: 2 Stars

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

I had some seriously high expectations for this novel. I’ve been meaning to get my hands on it for about a year now, and I was so excited when I finally did. But – lo and behold – I quickly come to find out that this is NOT a heartbreaking story of two mature teenagers who have their own painful secrets and mysteries, but, instead, this is a story about a stalker and stalkee, and how this situation is somehow shown in a positive light.

I’m not talking the normal kind of “stalking” that everyone does. Yes, everyone. There’s no denying that we all stalk people on Facebook and Twitter.

But that’s not what Holder does.

He takes it to a whole new level. A disgusting one.

You see someone in a store. They’re kind of hot. This has all happened to us. You might stare a little too long, there might even be that embarrassing little dribble of drool running down your chin.

And then they see you looking. Usually, you’ll turn your head and (try and fail) to pretend that no, no, no, you weren’t staring lustfully at them. Not you, not them, no no no. That’s not drool on your chin, it’s, uh, it’s water. Yeah! Water. Just water that is left over from lunch, thanks. No, no I don’t need a napkin.

This is where the event of lustfully staring usually stops. You go on your way, they go their way. No one the wiser and possibly a funny story to recount to your friends later, about that hot-mother-effer you lusted after.

This is not where it ended for Holder and Sky. No. He follows her to her car, only to demand her name. She’s scared and annoyed, tells him to go away, and gets in her car. But wait, his hand stops your door. You can’t get away. But it’s the middle of the day and you don’t even know the guy, so he wouldn’t actually do anything, would he?

You tell him your name. He doesn’t believe you, so – apparently what every sane human being would do – you show him your drivers license and he looks at it for no more than five seconds. He apologizes and tells you he thought you were someone else. Time to go now. Drive away quickly.

Same day. You go for a run. Guess who just happens to be around? That’s right, the creeper!!

You then realize he knows where you live, what your full name is, what your organ donor status is, and what your birthday is. He even goes so far as to recite it all back to you like it’s the information for the big exam tomorrow.

At this point, it’s time to hightail it out of there. Possibly call the cops.

But guess what?

Sky thinks it’s cute.

CUTE.

Now, there are some warning bells going off for her, but not nearly enough. All of the bells are smothered by how hot Holder is. Who cares if he’s a complete freak and possibly an ax murderer as long as he’s hot, right?

“And I’m not apologizing to you, because I don’t want you to forget what happened and you should never forgive me for it. Ever. Never make excuses for me, Sky.”

Neon flashing signs should be flashing behind your eyes right now, folks. Not to mention it sounds like an abusive situation to be in.

“He doesn’t react the way he does because there are five different sides to his personality. He reacts the way he does because there’s only one side to Dean Holder.

Passionate.”

You say passionate, I say crazy. Crazy like Charles Manson. Crazy like Ted Bundy. Crazy with pretty words or pretty looks and covering it up with a good story.

Crazy where the guy has five different personalities.

But, hey, he’s hot. Remember that. At least as he changes personalities he keeps the same face.

And then Holder starts showing up to run with Sky in the morning, already outside her door.

Uh. Yeah, no.

If Holder was a golden retriever, this would be perfectly fine, but he’s a guy you do not really know, but seems to know far too much out you, soooo . . .

But he’s a hot stalker.

“The door closes behind him and he leaves me with even more questions. But what’s new?”

Such a smart thing to date the guy who man-handles you, who you don’t know anything about, and has been in multiple fights. Good for you . . .

NOT.

Why would you even deal with that kind of crap? Like, really? Sky even admits to herself that their relationship seems to be wholly based off of their lust for each other. This book is drowning in lust, I’ll tell you.

And, oh, the effing kissing/not-quite-kissing scenes.

DIE A PAINFUL DEATH KISSING SCENES.

For one thing, there are way, way too many of them. And not only are there endless amounts of kissing/not-quite-kissing scenes, but all of them are detailing EVERY FREAKIN’ THING. Everything.

I like kissing scenes. I do. But this was just ridiculous.

“It’s appreciative and gentle and he keeps one hand on the back of my head and on my hip as he slowly tastes and teases every part of my mouth. This kiss is just like he is – studied and never in a hurry.”

Never in a hurry? Studied?

You’re telling me that the boy who freaked out over your bracelet in the cafeteria, the boy who made you wait without an apology as to why he’s acting like a total douchebag and who is ignoring you for no apparent reason is studied and never in a hurry . . . I do so hope you mean Holder is never in a hurry to tell you ANYTHING and that he’s studied in the ways of never actually talking to you and sidestepping all your questions. If not . . . well, I’d hate to see what you classify as stupid and fast then, Sky.

And when Holder drops a freakin’ bomb on Sky’s life, she clearly tells him to leave her alone for the night so she can think, and so what does the boy do?

Sneaks in through her window in the middle of the night, causing poor Sky to have a heart attack when she wakes up to realize there’s someone else in her bed.

“I couldn’t leave you. I just needed to make sure you were okay.” He puts his hand on my neck, right below my ear, and brushes along my jaw with his thumb. “Your heart,” he says, feeling my pulse beating against his fingertips. “You’re scared.”

You bet she’s scared! You snuck into her bed and the second she wakes up, screams, you feel for her pulse to – I don’t even know – make sure she’s still breathing???

Uh. No. You creep.

But, guess what? This is the moment she falls even more in love with him. I kid you not. Sure, he scared the utter crap out of her, but she just had a bad dream and needs the arm of her man.

WHAT.

He treats her so poorly too. I didn’t even notice it at first because of all the stalking the boy does, but he slaps Sky on her ass many times, will talk or not talk to her when it fits him, and teases her relentlessly about her lust for him. It’s ridiculous and completely unappealing.

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